Zoo Trip!

Today, Beanie’s class went to the Saginaw Children’s Zoo. I used a personal day and joined them!

It was fun to see the Bean in her “natural habitat,” with her classmates. She was immediately called over to sit by two girls on the bus, and she mingled with all the kids (and adults!). She knows the other kids with disabilities quite well, since they do morning circle time together, but she has just as many friends without disabilities. It was a fun day!

Looking at the prairie dog

With her Head Start teacher

I forgot my camera and had to use the iPad, which over exposed a number of pictures, like this one. But this is, indeed, a "Mama Llama!"

With one of her classroom aides

With her special ed teacher

The peacocks (who were running loose) were the Bean's favorite attraction!

Lunch time!

Over the wobbly, floating bridge. Good thing Beanie has good sea legs!

Yup, this was a personal day well spent!

Best iPad Apps for Preschoolers

Two days ago I wrote about some of the pros and cons of using an iPad with your child during playtime. Today I will share some of Beanie’s favorite apps. Here are the top 5 apps for preschoolers:

1. Monkey Preschool Lunchbox. This game appeals to the short attention span of a preschooler. The monkey leads kids throu a variety of games, including matching, patterns, and letter recognition. Kids earn “stickers” that they can place on a board periodically in the game. The same company also made Monkey Mathschool Sunshine, which is a math game for preschoolers that follows a similar format.

2. Jump Start Preschool. This is another variey game, where kids earn “jump stars.”. It is slightly more challenging than Monkey Preschool Lunchbox, and it teaches early reading and math skills.

3. Elmo’s Monster Maker. This is a more open-ended, creative game. Kids choose a monster body, then add eyes, a nose, a mouth, and a hat. Then, the monster can dance, play with Elmo, or have its picture taken.

4. Another Monster at the End of This Book. This is part app, part ebook. It’s based on the children’s book, but kids can click on the pictures and participate in the story. This is Beanie’s current favorite. There is also an app available based on the earlier book, “The Monster at the End of This Book.”

5. Letter School. . This is my favorite letter-making game. Kids choose a letter, watch a demonstration of it being formed, then drag fun objects (train tracks, lights, grass, etc.) around to make the letter. After they successfully make the letter, something happens. A train goes around the track, lights blink, a lawnmower cuts the grass, and so on. This is a great app, because it only allows kids to for the letters correctly, rather than just having them trace. ABC Trace is another good letter-forming app.

Here are some apps not to bother with:

1. Puppet Show. You can make the puppet turn and open its mouth. Not too exciting.

2. Jog Nog. This requires constant Internet access. Not ideal for a little kid.

3. Kid Genius. This is just flash cards.

Happy iPad-ing!

Off the School With the Bean!

The first week of school is hectic. The second week isn’t much better.

I’ve been happy to get out of bed early enough to publish posts I’ve already written. Forget about Flying. I’m doing what Moonraker was doing in Thunder Bay back in July…sinking slowly.

On the homefront, at least.

And that’s because I’m back at school. I’m modifying assignments, planning lessons, and generally being entertained by my wonderful students. That’s how fall is for me.

But now Beanie goes to school too.

When the bus arrives, she does a little dance, and proclaims “Cool bus!” She takes a spiral notebook with her in her little pink backpack, and often her teachers reward me with a note.

Beanie likes to eat everything in her lunches (which have been modified to fit her GERD-controlling diet) except for cooked veggies. She plays in all areas of the room, and really likes the drums. She sits on the potty first thing, and sings a song. Unfortunately, her diaper is wet when she gets there. Her teachers are as baffled by potty training as we are.

Then, this week, we got into the nitty-gritty. Miss Bean is “working on” staying at the table during lunch, staying with the other kids, and following directions. We suspect that her teachers–God bless them–are working more than Beanie. At lunch, she likes to put too much food in her mouth, so that she has to spit it out. Then she throws a tantrum when they try to limit the amount of food she eats at a time. Yesterday was a rough day.

Beanie didn’t seem to think so.

She came home, with a triumphant smile on her face. Then, an hour later, she decided she wanted to go back on the “Cool bus.” There was much lamenting when we told her she would have to wait until Monday.

So, more oral sensory activities, it is. Rob will buy some more “chewy tubes” from therapy today. I even bought her some chewing gum today (sugar free–it’s horrible but at least it won’t aggravate her reflux). It kept her entertained while I completed the grocery shopping. That’s something, at least! If we do more of that stuff at home, maybe her eating habits will change. And we’ll tell them to cut her food up.

But, it’s been mainly great. She brought home her first art project yesterday, and it’s been posted on the fridge. She’s already talking more and constantly singing her new songs.